Minnesota firm pays $46M for student housing near Florida International University

Market for rentals near colleges is heating up

737 Southwest 109th Avenue in Sweetwater and Tailwind Group's  Kyle Smith, Reggie Reed, Michael Sather and Landon Smith (Google Maps, Tailwind)
737 Southwest 109th Avenue in Sweetwater and Tailwind Group's  Kyle Smith, Reggie Reed, Michael Sather and Landon Smith (Google Maps, Tailwind)

Tailwind Group bought student housing near Florida International University for $46 million, reflecting the hot market for rentals near colleges.

Greystar, through an affiliate, sold the 15-story building, called 109 Tower, at 737 Southwest 109th Avenue to Tailwind, according to a deed. The buyer scored a $34.5 million loan from an entity tied to alternative investment adviser Värde Partners, records show.

The sale of the 149-unit property breaks down to $308,725 per unit.

109 Tower offers two-bedroom apartments for $1,030 per room, and four-bedroom units for $750 to $794 per room, according to its website. Amenities include a pool, gym, cyber lounge and clubhouse.

The building was completed in 2014 on 0.8 acres, and traded in the same year for $43.5 million, records show.

Greystar, based in Charleston, South Carolina, is a multifamily investment manager, developer and manager, according to its website. Its founder and CEO is Bob Faith.

In November, Greystar sold a 30-property multifamily portfolio in growing markets, such as the Sun Belt and coastal suburbs, for $3.6 billion to Canadian real estate investment firm Ivanhoé Cambridge.

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Tailwind, based in Mankato, Minnesota, is a real estate buyer, developer and manager that focuses on underserved and undervalued markets, according to its website. Founding principals Kyle Smith, Reggie Reed, Michael Sather and Landon Smith started the company in 2005. Tailwind’s president is Lane Gravley.

Although Tailwind heavily focuses on student housing, it also invests in office and retail properties. Its website lists one other Florida student housing property, The Quarters at Tallahassee near Florida State University and Florida A&M University campuses.

The student housing market has been robust, with deal activity near FIU and the University of Miami. Real estate giants are also forming joint ventures to bet on the market.

Near FIU, Adam America Real Estate and JW Capital Management plan to build a 932-unit, 1,201-bed project, with the help of a $147 million construction loan they scored this month. Their equity partner is ARBS Real Estate USA Holdings.

Landmark Properties entered a $784 million joint venture with Blackstone Real Estate Income Trust in August to buy and recapitalize student housing. In December, Landmark bought a student housing community near UM and an adjacent development site for $23.3 million, although it is unclear if the purchase is part of the properties the Landmark-Blackstone joint venture is buying.

Also in December, Morgan Stanley formed a joint venture with Global Student Accommodation, for a $1.6 billion student housing portfolio of 15,000 beds spanning 21 states and 29 cities.

While student housing rebounded in 2021 with the return to in-person classes, it remains unclear if and how the Omicron variant will impact the market.

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